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Salkehatchie Summer Service
Shelby Camp 2007
Notes from the Camp Director

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Tresca Hollis is originally from Greenville SC. She moved to Shelby in the summer of 2001 to take the job as director of youth and children's ministries at Lafayette Street UMC. Tresca first attended Salkehatchie as a youth many years ago and has had the privilege of being able to bring the youth of LSUMC to the Huntersville Camp the last three years. 2007 will be the first Shelby camp.

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January 30, 2007
March 20, 2007
May 30, 2007

January 21, 2007

This weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the planning retreat for the Salkehatchie directors. It was an inspiring weekend, full of stories of how Salkehatchie inspired and changed lives. Many stories were shared, including several that have been immortalized in this book.

After hearing all the stories this weekend, I am inspired to share with you my Salkehatchie story. I first attended a Salkehatchie camp at the ripe old age of 14. I had no idea what I was getting into - I was basically going because one of my best friends was going. I got a lot more than I bargained for. I was assigned to work on the home of Ms. Williams. I had never seen anything like the conditions that she lived in. From her front porch and her yard, to inside her house, there was stuff piled everywhere. The stuff in her house was actually prohibiting her from being able to get to her kitchen and bathroom- not that either would do her much good since she had no sewer or running water. She had no family, except for her mentally handicapped son who lived next door. The city of Spartanburg had been out the month before and condemned her house. She had nowhere else to go.

The thing that struck me about the whole situation is that Ms. Williams still had hope and faith. She never stopped believing that God would take care of her and she firmly believed He had sent us to her. And we did our best. We replaced the porch and her roof, carted out three dumpsters worth of trash, junk and old treasures. We painted, cleaned, built a closet, and were able to have someone come in connect the house back up to water and sewer. The next week, the city came back and approved our changes so that she could continue to live in her house.

The impact of the week extended far beyond Ms. Williams. My life was drastically changed. All of a sudden things that I had been learning in church and in youth clicked. Through getting to know Ms. Williams, I learned that every life has value and hope. Through working with other youth and adults on a project that in the beginning of the week seemed absolutely overwhelming, I learned the power of community and the Body of Christ. I saw first hand the power of God as we were able to do the impossible in a week. I learned that week what it meant to be the hands and feet of God and caught a glimpse of the life that He expected me to live.

The impact of the week extended far beyond Ms. Williams. My life was drastically changed. All of a sudden things that I had been learning in church and in youth clicked.

This was pretty powerful stuff for a 14 year old and the impact of that week has affected the last 14 years of my life. I don't think I would be working at Lafayette Street UMC as the youth director today if it weren't for my experiences that week. I went back to Salkehatchie every summer through high school and each week was special and meaningful. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to take some of our youth to the Salkehatchie Camp in Huntersville, NC. I was able to experience Salkehatchie from a different perspective. I saw our youth learn what it means to be the hands and feet of God and to do the impossible. If you get the chance, ask one of our youth that have attended for their Salkehatchie story.

This summer, I will have the opportunity to experience Salkehatchie from an even different perspective as a camp director for our first camp here in Shelby. To say I'm a little nervous is an understatement, but I have faith in God that He can do the impossible here in Shelby too. I am so excited that our congregation has agreed to embrace this camp and for week to welcome in approximately 50 campers from across North and South Carolina the last week of June. But we've got a lot of work to do to get ready before then and we will need help.

The first thing we will need is prayer- prayers for the camp, for the prospective homeowners, for the campers coming, for our church and other volunteers. Pray that God moves in their lives and that we have a terrific and safe week. We also need local volunteers to help. We will need people to help with food, set-up and clean up for camp, help with logistics, finding houses and homeowners to work with, gathering supplies, etc. And finally, we will also need donations- monetary, drink and food donations, building supplies - lumber, nails, paint, roofing materials, etc., and a place to store these items. There will be a more comprehensive list as we get closer to the summer.

I would like to finish by just saying thank you. Thank you for your support, prayers and participation. It's going to be an incredible experience for all involved and I can't wait!!

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January 30, 2007

Last night we had our second organizational meeting for our new camp. We had a good turnout of interested folks, and everyone seems to be very excited about starting a camp here in Shelby.

Running a Salkehatchie is a huge job and one that I will not be able to do by myself. I feel very blessed with the people who have stepped up to help:

  • Bob Norris, Carl Duncan and Earl Culbertson are going to help find homes, figure out what materials we will need for camp and help with any finishing projects after the camp is completed
  • Alice Byrd is going to coordinate our "camp-site" here at the church.
  • Tammy Duncan is coordinating all of our food for the week and I'm very grateful to the Methodist Men who are going to fix our breakfasts.
  • Laura Beth Hamrick, Melissa Kelly, and Erin Mode are going to serve as our camp photographers and videographers, as well as help with welcoming campers and running errands through the week.
  • Wanda Rogers will be our camp nurse
  • Pastor Coleman from Hopper's Chapel was in attendance at our meeting last night and has agreed to help find homes as well as look into some options for music and food.
  • Jerry Kita is putting together a web-page for our camp (it looks good, Jerry!)
  • Jerry and Mona Kita, directors of the Huntersville Camp, are serving as advisors for our camp. Mona, who was at our meeting last night, offered great insight and suggestions for our camp.
  • Ruth Huffstetler volunteered her garage for storage of materials for the week.
  • Larry Hawkey, from McMannen UMC in Durham, NC, is creating our symbols for the week. They are going to be really neat!

As you can see, we're off to a great start! Our main focus now is finding the homes we will work on this year. We hope to have several to look at in the next couple of weeks. We still also have some holes to fill as far as worship leaders, snack coordinators, etc., but I am sure that people will step up to serve. We had several great ideas for camp and I am so excited for our Shelby Salkehatchie!!

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Mar 20, 2007

The past month or so has been very busy here at LSUMC with Salkehatchie preparations. We are in the process of securing meals to eat and homes to work on. As of last week, I was confident we had our four homes we would work on this summer, but after a return visit this past Saturday, major issues presented themselves at at least one of the homes and a second is looking more and more doubtful that we will be able to work on it.

Despite these setbacks, I am confident that our team will be ready to host our Salkehatchie camp. The response from our church and the community has been extremely positive. The meals are being lined up and we are in the process of creating a list of supplies we will need for camp.

The homes we have picked out will be challenging, but I have seen God work miracles at Salkehatchie before and I have no reason to think our camp will be any different. June is coming fast, but we will be ready!

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May 30, 2007

Just 24 days until camp startsÖ Wow, thatís not long at all. The end of June is coming fast. I am still nervous about our first camp, but things are falling into place.

Our four homes are selected and ready to go. This past Saturday, Bob Norris, Carl Duncan, Mona and Jerry Kita and I went back to look at 3 of the 4 homes to talk with the homeowners and to get measurements and a list of materials we will need for the week. All of the homeowners seem very excited about the week.

Tresca Hollis checks out the living room

Currently, we have 38 campers signed up. About half of those are Salkehatchie veterans. It will be nice to have that experience especially with our adults.

Thanks to several area churches and groups at Lafayette St. UMC all of our meals are covered for the week. Beth Walker and Allyson Howell have taken charge of our snacks as well. From listening to the plans, I donít think we will go hungry.

We also have showers lined up. We will be showering at the Dover YMCA, Shelby High School and Aldersgate UMC. Thanks to those organizations for allowing us access for the week!

We have some great activities planned for the week of camp. Our worship and recreation times are being planned out and should be special and meaningful as well.

With all of the big items in place, now we just have to work on the small details. We will be ready June 23. I hope that all our campers will be too. Itís going to be a great week!!

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